What's the best free AntiVirus software?

Episode 925

Mike from Corona, CA

Leo recommends Microsoft's Security Essentials, which is free.

Mike also noticed that his laptop has slowed down over time. Leo says that over time, Windows can suffer from "bit rot." The easiest way to fix it is to back up his data, then format the hard drive and restore the OS from the recovery disks to the way he got it when he bought it. Then he should make sure to run Windows updates.

Was I the victim of a computer scam?

Episode 924

Terry from El Cajon, CA

Terry responded to a pop-up from someone who used remote access to get into his computer. Leo says that is a complete scam and it's likely that a they've infected his computer with viruses and maybe even key loggers to monitor activity on the computer. They even tried to charge him for this. Leo advises that he talk to a computer store in his area. Then have them backup his data and reinstall Windows. He can run a scanner such as the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool by clicking Start, selecting "Run", typing MRT and hitting enter.

Will my new laptop be able to upgrade to Windows 8?

Episode 915

Bobby from San Bernadino, CA

Absolutely. It may cost about $15 for the upgrade, but any computer made from the last few years will be able to go up to Windows 8.

Bobby also just bought a "lifetime" subscription to Viper AntiVirus. Leo says that AVS companies are going lifetime subscriptions now to get the most money out of you since Windows 8 will ship with an AVS for free later this year, and most people won't buy a subscription ever again. But even so, $90 for three computers isn't too bad at all.

Why is Avast telling me I have a virus, despite having reinstalled Windows to fix it?

Episode 905

Bob from Pennsylvania

Leo says that Avast may be giving Bob a false positive, which isn't unlikely, especially with free AVS software. If he wants a free antivirus, he should dump Avast and go with Microsoft Security Essentials. He could also download Microsoft Windows Defender. He can even make a bootable USB key or CD and then run it independently to scan his entire hard drive.

Why can't I get internet access on my laptop despite it showing it's connected?

Episode 903

Sam from Garden Grove, CA

Sam has tried replacing drivers, restarting the router and modem and even bypassing the router and connecting directly to the modem. Leo concludes that there's something wrong with software on the laptop, and is most likely a Windows issue. He says it could either be security software that's blocking the connection or a virus that's doing it. Leo first recommends disabling his McAfee antivirus. It could be that the antivirus is being overzealous and is cutting out wireless activity.

Why am I still getting viruses despite having Vipre antivirus?

Episode 899

Jerry from Florida

Jerry has an anti virus utility called Vipre, but he still keeps getting viruses. Leo says Vipre isn't very good and recommends ESET Nod 32 for Windows. He should first take Vipre off, and then install NOD32. It's the best security software Leo knows of (Disclaimer: ESET is a sponsor). The best free AVS is Microsoft's Security Essentials.

My Ukranian webmaster says there's a conspiracy with ESET blocking the site. What's going on?

Episode 898

Mike from Sylmar, California

Leo thinks this site has been compromised, and the webmaster doesn't know it yet. Most malware comes from the Ukraine, so that doesn't instill much faith that this site is free and safe. Ultimately Mike will have to decide who to trust, but Leo thinks it's safe to side with ESET.

(Disclaimer: ESET is a sponsor).

AVG and MalwareBytes detected a trojan, but other programs didn't. Should I be concerned?

ESET Nod32

Episode 898

Kevin from Huntington Beach, CA

AVG free turned up trojan.dropper when Kevin ran it on his system. He also tried scanning with MalwareBytes which confirmed it, so that makes it more of a concern. He downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials and ESET and tried scanning with each of those, and didn't find anything. He only should have one antivirus installed at a time, because sometimes antivirus programs will find files in another antivirus program and flag it as a virus.

I installed ESET Mobile Security on my Android smartphone. Why is it giving me all kinds of warnings?

Episode 894

Chip from Corona Del Mar, CA

It sounds like the one he got is an enterprise edition, and is meant for sys admins to install on all Android phones in a company. They're used to seeing this, it is normal, and he could go through it and use it on his phone. In general though, Leo doesn't put any high end security software on his phone. He does use a free program called LookOut, but he doesn't think anything more than that is necessary. But he paid for the software, he might as well use it!

Should I leave Windows Firewall on in addition to using Nod32? (Part 2)

ESET Nod32

Episode 889

Justin from Indianapolis, IN

He can leave the Windows Firewall on. In fact, Leo doesn't recommend the full ESET offering of desktop security products. Just get the antivirus, and turn on the Windows Firewall. Since Justin may be using college campus internet, the firewall will protect Justin from network viruses or worms propagating on his system. The Windows Firewall isn't real powerful, but it's good enough and will protect him against worms coming from within the network he's on. (Disclaimer: ESET is a sponsor).